Every time it seems like the atrocities of the Syrian civil war have crossed another horrifying line, a new story comes along that pushes the bar even lower. A video is circulating online that appears to show a rebel commander eating the lung of a dead Syrian solider. Though there were questions about the video's authenticity, the man who appears in it has come forward and says he did it and has no regrets. Both Time and CNN have other evidence to suggest it is indeed authentic—and horrifying to all sides of the conflict.
The man in the video is Khalid al-Hamad, who also goes by the name Abu Sakkar. He is a leader of the "Independent Omar al-Farouq Brigade," which is opposed to the Assad regime, but reportedly operates outside the command of the main Syrian opposition group, the Free Syrian Army. In an interview with Time, Abu Sakkar admits to mutilating the body, and says he did so after looking at the dead solider's cellphone and finding a video of him humiliating and assaulting a woman and her two daughters.
In the video, which was circulated widely this week and analyzed by Human Rights Watch, Abu Sakkar appears to cut the heart, lungs, and liver out of a dead Syrian solider. He holds the organs in his hands and says into the camera:
I swear to God, soldiers of Bashar, you dogs – we will eat your heart and livers! Takbir! God is Great! Oh my heroes of Baba Amr, you slaughter the Alawites and take their hearts out to eat them!
At the end of the video, he takes a bite of one of the organs. Most initial viewers believed it was the heart, and Hamad says he thought it was the liver at the time, but a surgeon who watched the video says it was a lung. You can see a blurred version of the brief video via Iran's PressTV.